Being worried about the range of electric cars may soon be a thing of the past as auto companies have been developing range extenders. Amid indications that the switch to electric is really happening, Chevrolet equips its Volt with a range extender that’s in the form of a combustion engine generator. And it appears like Volvo will also be coming out with its own too.
Volvo is developing Range Extenders for electric cars where a combustion engine will be used to widen the effective range. The Swedish Energy Agency and the EU are supporting these projects, which make use of three potential technology combinations.
Tests are set to start in the first quarter of 2012. Derek Crabb, Vice President Powertrain Engineering at the Volvo Car Corporation, said that this is “an exciting expansion of [its] increasing focus on electrification.”
He said that the current battery cost and size will result to all-electric cars having a relatively limited operating range. But when the Range Extender is used, the electric car’s effective range will be increased by a thousand kilometers.
But even with this figure, its carbon dioxide emissions rating will be “below or way below 50 g/km.” The first technical concept is based on the C30 Electric.
It features a three-cylinder combustion engine installed under the rear load compartment floor that delivers 60hp (45 kW). This car is also fitted with a 40-litre fuel tank. The Range Extender raises the electric car’s range by as high as 1,000 km (621 miles), aside from the 110 km (74 miles) range given by the car’s battery pack.
The second concept is based on the C30 as well but in the rear, it puts in a parallel-connected system in the form of a more powerful engine. The turbocharged 190hp engine mainly drives the rear wheels with the use of a six-speed automatic transmission.
The third technical concept (the last one) is a parallel-connected Range Extender similar to the last one, but this is used for the V60 estate. The front wheels are driven by the combustion engine via the gearbox. It recharges the battery pack whenever necessary.